Interview with a Bride Sydnie

How did you pull of such a fabulous wedding in a short amount of time? Did you ever feel stressed out during the planning? 

I planned my wedding in such a short amount of time with a lot of help and i mean A LOT! I couldn't have made it happen without all the love and support around me. My mother, mother-in-law, my husband, maid of honor, and bridesmaids all helped me plan a perfect wedding.
 

What was the most important element of your wedding when you were planning it, and looking back now, do you agree with putting such importance on it now?

The most important element to my wedding was my photography from the beginning. I knew exactly what-and who-I wanted! And I do agree with how much importance I put on it with all the reactions from friends and family on how the pictures turned out. I can't tell you how many compliments I've received on them.

 

How did you pick your wedding dress?

I found my dress at a local dress shop that was changing to solely a costume rental so all of their dresses were marked down at prices I couldn't pass up! I picked my specific dress because I love the style of the dress, and the accents matched my theme and colors perfectly. I felt so beautiful in the dress.
 

Did you have a certain theme you were going with for the over all style of your wedding?

The theme for my wedding was a bit of theater meeting modern due to venue! My mother-in-law actually made most of the decorations herself!

 

How did you feel during your first look with your now husband? 

I felt just overwhelmed with almost every emotion during our first look-but mainly joy. He looked so handsome! It put me at ease to see him, and taking on the day together as a team. I just couldn't wait to actually be married to start the rest of our lives together.

As you relive your wedding day, what was the single best moment of the day/night?

I don't know if i could even pick a best moment of the day it was all so wonderful. Our first dance was one of my favorite moments though. We danced to a song that was custom made for us, that my husband bought me for one of our christmas's. Just getting to hear that song and be in his arms was the best feeling.

 

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about it and why?

One thing that I would change was that we didn't do a rehearsal beforehand. I think that everyone was really nervous not doing a run through of the whole thing, so if we did they would've been more relaxed and so would I!

 

You had some help making your dream wedding, how do you think it would’ve gone without their help?

I had a lot of help making my dream wedding a reality, and I can with certainty say that it would not have went as smoothly without it. Our mothers pretty much took it into their own hands and made everything I wanted happen! I couldn't have done it without them and all the additional help i wouldn't have wanted to do it without!

Leading up to the day, what were the biggest things that stressed you out and how did you get through it?

Most things that stressed me out leading up to the day were just last minute jitters basically. Worried things wouldn't be perfect. After we decorated the venue I felt more at ease. Talking with my bridesmaids and husband helped a lot as well.

If you were to give one piece of advice to a bride planning her dream wedding now, what would it be?

One piece of advice to a bride planning now would just be to take things one step at a time. If you make a list and start at the beginning and have a great support system it will be a fun experience so just relax and enjoy it!

Interview with a Bride: Mrs. Poelker

Megan and Joey's wedding put the F in F-U-N, FUN!! We had a three photographer team to help capture the special moments of their day which was great because each of us were able to focus on our specialty areas to deliver the best wedding photography possible. Walking in to All Souls Catholic Church felt like walking into an art and sculpture museum. The beautiful stained glass windows, archways, and stone walls made for a photographers paradise. We shot 100% natural light for the ceremony which worked out perfectly in this well lit venue. I can't wait to come back there for another wedding one day! Lets take a moment to talk about the most pleasant and down to earth bride you have ever met, Megan. Not only did she win me over with the fact that she made photography (at least from my perspective), one of the most important elements to the day, but she also took all of my suggestions and ran with them from the engagement session ideas, to the timeline of her wedding day, to even picking out my most favorite florist ever, Merry Me Bouquet.  This lady really rolled with the waves when they came too, from dealing with dress mixups and wrong alterations, wedding portraits on the hottest day of the year (reaching 107 at one point, and even dealing with a few moments that I am sure felt like hours with out A/C on her bus on the wedding day... Never once did she enter into any type of 'Zilla mode. Now the dashing groom, who was not just along for the ride, but participated in planning and ALWAYS had a smile on his face when I saw him! Too give you an insight into what type of man Joey is, he had his father as his best man.. ::swoon:: My absolute favorite part of their wedding day was the reception, hands down. In all my years of wedding photography, this has literally been one of the best. Their guests were happy, dancing the entire night, the dj was incredible, and the venue was gorgeous. The entire vibe of the night was celebration in all accounts!! When I saw the glowstick table, I new this party was going to be a HIT! Thank you so much Megan and Joey for picking us to capture your moments, your wedding will always be very dear to my heart. 

How did he/you propose and how did you know he/she was the one?

Joey and I met on a dating website despite our hesitations to put ourselves out there on the internet. It seemed desperate. Our friends talked us into it and soon enough we came across each other's profiles. Joey says he instant messaged me multiple times before I finally responded. I don't remember that very clearly. ;) It was an instant connection and chemistry. Turns out.. we have some family and friend connections. Small world!
2 years later on Joey's birthday (March 26) I planned a little day with a birthday cake, presents, dinner at our favorite BBQ place, and some March Madness bball. Our teams were playing each other that night! (Kentucky Wildcats v. Note Dame Fighting Irish) As Joey was opening his gifts that I got him, I guess I didn't get the exciting reaction I had pictured in my head. I asked him if he liked his gifts and he said yes but there is something he would like even more... I was thinking to myself, "Are you kidding me? I spent a lot of money and put a lot of thought into these!".. I asked, "What is that?" That's when he got on one knee, opened a ring box, and said.. "If you said yes!"

Why did you pick your wedding date?

I am a teacher so I always knew a summer wedding was what I wanted. I wanted to get married as soon as possible but obviously the upcoming summer was way too soon to be a possible option. The day he proposed... within the hour actually lol... I opened up my calendar and looked at June 2016. I pointed to June 11th and asked what he thought about it. My reasoning was, it's at the beginning of summer but doesn't run into possible snow day make ups! LOL Then our day was set! Easy as that!

I feel like you have been on top of everything since day one of planning, how did you do it? Do you have super bride senses or have you been planning your wedding your whole life?

I think like most girls, I have had many dreamy ideas of what I wanted on my wedding day. Of course I had pinterest boards, magazine clippings, etc. Also, a few friends of mine were recently married and I followed their wedding planning adventures and took great mental notes.The following day after the proposal I was already calling venues. I didn't really venue shop.. I had one in mind already as a HIGHLY reccomended place from a friend. When I called, they had my day open and I put a deposit down then and there. That's when I started researching florists, entertainment, etc. It helps to know people as well. One of my best friends is a DJ and a cousin was able to provide uplighting and a photobooth. I am a member of the facebook wedding resale pages which are AMAZING! That is where I not only purchased lots of wedding decor and gathered ideas but also stumbled across MGE Photography and MerryMeBoquets. All the planning fell into place so smoothly and quickly. I felt like my wedding was planned a year out! haha. Of course hiccups happen along the way but nothing too terrible.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced this past year in regards to wedding planning and how did you overcome it?

I wouldn't say I had many challenges, but we did have a change of plans per-say regarding colors. It is actually a funny story now and a small blessing in disguise. I had picked out "sea glass" bridesmaid dresses which are a very pale blue, to go with a summer shabby chic wedding themed wedding. All of the girls had ordered their dresses a year out which was plenty early. I sort of felt weird for having everything done so early, but oh well. One of my maids of honor who lived out of state, decided to wait on ordering hers. This was no problem at all considering we had a year! Many months later when she decided to go order her dress, David's Bridal had told her that they discontinued my color and they could not find the dress for her anywhere! PANIC MODE! Cue the tears! Luckily a few minutes later after having a bridezilla moment, we had an idea to maybe out the maids of honor in a different color and exchange the other dress. We decided to have the two MOH's in a light pink while the others remained in seaglass. I wasn't totally confident about this color scheme for a while but I went with it. This turned out to be the most beautiful mix of colors with the flowers and other decor. We had so many compliments on it! Nice work, Kait! ;)

The day came and went so fast! Did it unfold exactly as planned?

Our day was the most perfect day I could have ever imagined. I was calm, cool, and collect the entire year of planning. It wasn't until the few days before the wedding that the nerves kicked in. Would I look pretty? Would the decor looks good? Are the dresses okay? Will the vendors arrive on time? All of the typical worries. Despite being 100 degrees outside while taking photos, our day went just as planned. The timeline flowed so smoothly, everyone looked awesome, and our guests had a blast! Joey and I were in awe all weekend!

When you look back at your wedding day, what were your favorite moments above all else?

I loved my wedding day so much.. I had so many favorite moments. I would have to say my absolute most favorite would be my dad walking me down the isle in his Air Force dress blues and also dancing with him after dinner. Those were both the two times of the day that I almost lost it with tears! 
The wedding crashers were pretty awesome too! ;)

How did you feel the moment after you were officially husband and wife? How have things changed from a month ago?

It felt amazing! I felt a huge sigh of relief because I was shaking uncontrollable the entire ceremony. HAHA It was definitely surreal. We of course took a selfie to document out first few minutes as husband and wife. :) We finally have had some time to settle into our normal lives after an awesome honeymoon, and married life is awesome. We still reminisce on our wonderful day and look forward to everything life is bringing us in our future.

Was there anything you could've done without?

Not that I can think of. I don't feel like we overdid it in any aspect.

Whats one area you wish you would not have cut corners on?

I am perfectly happy with everything. I think all of our money was well spent.

How many photographers/djs/florists did you interview for the positions and how did you know the ones you picked were the right people?

We honestly didn't interview too many people before deciding. We went with our first instinct and gut feelings. We spoke with a few photographers but only actually met with Felicia. We had an instant connection with her and booked her immediately. I also did a lot of florist research and just fell in love with the work of Merry Me Bouquets. Many of the other vendors were people we knew or by word of mouth.

Everyone let loose at the reception, what tips do you have for couples to make sure their reception is a hit?

Our biggest compliments were regarding our awesome reception. I think the key to a good time is an awesome DJ, delicious food, and an open bar of course! Even the wedding guests from the wedding next door kept sneaking into our reception! :)

Who was your number one supporter and helper through all of this and what did they do that was so important?

Obviously my mom and dad were the top supporters of this amazing day. They covered us financially and my mom's amazing decorating skills didn't disappoint. The wedding planning experience for a year with my mom was so much fun and something I will always cherish.

 

This incredible day would not have been possible without:

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Interview with a Bride: Melissa and Brandon

I wanted to share this beautiful low lit evening wedding we photographed in April at The Weingarten in Belleville, IL.  The Weingarten offers a beautiful landscape complete with a pond, lovely wooded areas, and a huge brick silo. Inside the venue offers a private area for guests to dance, drink, and have fun. To light their wedding they used twinkle lights, candles, and lanterns. I loved how Melissa and Brandon styled their enchanted wedding with some beautiful elements of nature. The moss and tree branches set the stage for this low lit wedding and reception. Melissa was an amazing bride who was laid back, extremely artistic, and had a smile that melted everyones heart. Brandon buzzed the entire day, like a kid waiting to open presents on Christmas morning. Their love for each other could be felt by everyone in attendance! I hope you enjoy some of my favorite shots from their wedding <3 

Big thanks to the Weingarten and my wonderful second photographer Trisha Grinestead for helping create these once in a lifetime images for this couple. 

st. louis wedding photographer
st. louis wedding photographer

Baseball and Puppies with Matt and Amy

I wanted to share with you guys this amazing engagement session shot last week with Matt and Amy. We combined their love for Cardinals Baseball and their puppy Maggie for the best engagement session ever! 

I am super ecstatic about the photos we got at the stadium. I cant wait to go back for another photo session! If you have never been to Ball Park Village, then its a must see on your next St. Louis Tour. 

The second part of our photo shoot was at Faust Park  where there is an entire historic settlement/village free for the public to visit. It was an amazing backdrop for a romantic engagement session. That is another location I will be adding to my list of favorites to visit. Nothing beats free and beautiful when it comes to locations for a portrait photographer. 

If you are planning for an awesome engagement session, check out my last blog post on how to style for your shoot and tips to rock it on the day. 

Here are some of my favorites from Matt and Amy's engagement session.

Tips for planning the best engagement session EVER

So I have been majorly behind on the blog game as of recent, and its only because I have been SO busy photographing gorgeous engagements and boudoir shoots. Today I decided to make a blog post about how to make sure your engagement session ROCKS. These tips can be applied to both photographers and clients alike! 

From our construction themed shoot at the St. Louis Freight Depot. 

 

My first step to planning an engagement shoot is talking to my couple and finding out their interests. I LOVE doing creative and stylized shoots, but not every client wants something so out of the box original. I always ask them what their interests are, or if they had any special ideas in mind for their photo shoot. Most of the time my clients say we want something elegant or fun! I like to ask, what is the theme for the wedding day? Usually my couples want to use the photos from their engagement sessions for decor at their reception or for save the date cards. If they have a specific theme for the wedding, they may appreciate a session tailored around that theme. 

My tips for the bride to be is to use a hair and makeup artist for your engagement session. Not only does it make you look and feel like a total babe on your photo shoot, but you can plan to do your hair/makeup trial on the same day as your photo shoot and get a feel of what your wedding look will be. I highly recommend checking out Jacqi Kamp from J hair design studio. 

From a rustic and romantic engagement session at watershed nature park

When it comes to outfits for the shoot, I recommend that you dress for your body type and stylize for your shoot. If your planning a vintage/retro engagement session, then you obviously need to find some great 50's clothing. If your planning for a romantic and country session, you would be find with casual clothing  or bohemian styled dresses. The only thing I recommend not wearing is outfits with tons of patterns (camera's can be tricky and sometimes patterns do not translate well into photos) or clothing with labels on them (unless you are planning a sport themed shoot). I love being involved with my clients choice for outfits. They usually text me their outfit ideas, or send me pictures of what they are thinking about ordering. 

My favorite time to take engagement photos is 1-2 hours prior to sunset. The sky is golden and dreamy looking, which is perfect for a romantic look for engagement session. Overcast days are my second favorite. My favorite times of the year (and busiest for engagement) is spring and the first 2 weeks of fall. 

From a retro engagement session at Union Station St. Louis

Location is another very important factor in making your session rock. This relates directly back to what your theme is. I have always wanted to do an engagement session in a vintage book store or library for a couple book worm lovers, or a vintage record shop. The possibilities are endless on locations! 

Sometimes my clients want to bring props for their engagement session and if its a stylized/themed shoot, I highly recommend it! If we are telling a story about a specific interest, props can really help bring your shoot to another level. If your engagement session is not so out of the box, I would recommend bringing at least the rings. Those can be a lot of fun to use for your save the dates or timeline cover for Facebook. 

The poses I use during the engagement session are going to be very similar to those we use during the formal wedding portraits. Engagement sessions are a great way for you to practice your core poses, plus figure out which poses you REALLY loved and will look stunning in your wedding dress. The biggest thing to remember about posing is to keep your body loose, don't be afraid to laugh and have fun or say flirty things to your lover (those always bring out the most genuine smiles or "smizing" as Tyra Banks would say). I do plan my poses well in advance for the shoot (especially if we are planning a themed out of the box session) so that we are not scratching our heads for what to do. I also request for my clients to send me 10 photos that they loved either of my own photos or pictures they found on the web because its important to me to take photos they would like to see themselves in! 

Well I hope this blog helps and you enjoyed the photos, if you have any specific questions about engagement shoots you would like answered please leave them in the comments!